Wiltshire Police set up Operation Conifer to probe allegations of abuse levelled at the former prime minister Ted Heath, pictured in 1974
18:28, 14 November 2016 AMIE GORDON & TIM SCULTHORPE
- Detectives working on Operation Conifer inquiry have made two arrests
- Wiltshire Police said to be probing bizarre incident dating back to 1972
- A cult member threw paint at the then-PM and accused him of being gay
- Incident ‘nothing to do’ with child abuse allegations against former PM
Detectives working on the inquiry into alleged child abuse by Sir Edward Heath have arrested two men.
Wiltshire Police set up Operation Conifer to probe allegations of abuse levelled at the former Prime Minister.
This evening the force said Operation Conifer was investigating a number of separate allegations made by alleged victims, adding two men had been arrested and released on bail.
Detectives working on the inquiry into alleged child abuse by former Prime Minister Sir Edward Heath have arrested two men
A spokesman for Wiltshire Police said: ‘Operation Conifer is investigating a number of separate allegations made by persons who have come forward.
‘Two arrests have taken place in relation to Operation Conifer and, at this time, both remain on police bail. Due to the fact that this remains a live investigation it would not be appropriate for us to comment any further at this stage.’
A team of 21 police officers have been accused of a ‘fishing expedition’ in an effort to unearth new claims against the late Ted Heath.
This came after it emerged one incident the force is studying relates to an occasion in 1972 when a cult protester threw ink at Mr Heath at a summit in Brussels.
Former Cabinet secretary Lord Armstrong said there was no indication the incident had anything to do with child abuse and appeared ‘not relevant to allegations of child abuse’.
He told the Sunday Times the £700,000 Operation Conifer now ‘looks awfully like a fishing expedition’.
Marie-Louise Kwiatkowski made front-page news when she attacked Heath, shouting ‘you damn homosexual’, as he arrived at the Egmont Palace to sign the Treaty of Accession, one of the key agreements that cemented the UK’s political union with Europe.
She was protesting at a London council’s refusal to allow her cult, the Institute for Personal Development, to turn a fruit and vegetable market in Covent Garden into a conference centre.
The claims come days after the Metropolitan Police was slammed by a highly-critical report into its blundering £2.5million investigation of a so-called Westminster ‘VIP paedophile ring’ which was studded with ‘serious’ and ‘grave’ errors.
A total of 43 mistakes were highlighted in Operation Midland by the review, which found that the decision to abandon the inquiry should have been taken ‘much earlier’.
Mr Heath was one of the VIPs named and probed as part of the operation, along with a string of other high profile figures.
The suspected fantasist behind the complaints, named only as ‘Nick’, will now be investigated for attempting to pervert the course of justice, it emerged.
And five officers have been referred to police watchdog the Independent Police Complaints Commission over potential breaches in professional standards linked to Operation Midland.
The 1972 incident being probed by Wiltshire Police made the front page of the Daily Mail at the time but was today to have nothing to do with the abuse claims against Mr Heath
A Wiltshire Police spokesperson added: ‘The Henriques review was commissioned to look in to the Metropolitan Police’s handling of Operation Midland and other investigations concerning persons of public prominence within the Metropolitan Police area. Accordingly the review was not focused on Operation Conifer.
‘Wiltshire Police is the national lead in relation to Operation Conifer. The purpose of Operation Conifer is to investigate allegations of child abuse made against the former Prime Minister Sir Edward (Ted) Heath. In addition, the investigation aims to safeguard children and vulnerable adults who may be at risk of abuse today and, where relevant, bring living offenders to justice.
‘The operation commenced in August 2015, following an IPCC press release naming Sir Edward Heath as a suspect in an investigation into non-recent child sex abuse.
‘A panel of independent experts outside of policing are providing ongoing scrutiny of the investigation to ensure its proportionality and justification.
‘Furthermore, in line with recognised best practice, Wiltshire Police recently commissioned Operation Hydrant to undertake an independent review of the investigation to ensure its ongoing proportionality and justification.
‘Further to the release of the Henriques review Wiltshire Police, in conjunction with the College of Policing and the National Police Chiefs Council, will consider where relevant any national guidance and policy recommendations that may impact upon the ongoing Operation Conifer investigation. dailymail